Leslie Griffith, KTVU reporter for 22 years and eventual presenter, has died

Bay Area viewers of the 1990s and early 2000s lost a longtime favorite, as the family of former anchor Leslie Griffith announced that she died at her home in Mexico on Wednesday.

Most of us who remember Leslie Griffith on KTVU news remember her eight-year stint alongside Dennis Richmond, a couple who were local ratings giants and regularly beat their competition. But Griffith had been a reporter for the station for nearly 15 years prior, making her a familiar and trusted face, and earlier in her career a reporter for the Denver Post and then the Associated Press.

And most of us who remember Leslie Griffith will be saddened to learn that she passed away on Wednesday after a seven-year battle with Lyme disease – although as the Chronicle notes, a family member said it was “unclear” if the disease contributed to his death. She was 66 years old.

KTVU presented the above retrospective of Griffith’s career on Wednesday, addressing several of his recognizable former colleagues. “She has this really strong powerful voice,” said former KTVU reporter John Sasaki. “It’s one of those voices you always connect with, Elaine Corral is another, Dennis Richmond is another, those people were kind of legendary in the KTVU family.”

Griffith took over as co-anchor when Elaine Corral left the station in 1998. Griffith would go on to become one of Richmond’s longest-serving co-anchors, for the eight years from 1998 to 2006.

And while Bay Area viewers trusted KTVU’s unbiased Ten O’Clock News broadcast, there was certainly drama behind the scenes. Drama is what elevated Griffith to the anchor seat, when his predecessor Elaine Corral abruptly resigned on the air in 1998, stunning his colleagues. Griffith has become a local legend in the seat, although in the early days of SFist we developed an obsession with her in Where’s Leslie? columns, when it turned out that she too was frustrated in her role at the station.

She left KTVU in 2006 and had a brief stint with the Chronicle, even establishing the Leslie R. Griffith Women of Courage Scholarship encourage young women to take up journalism.

According to KTVU, “Griffith is survived by his two daughters, Trenton and Carly, an adopted son Eric and two grandchildren.”

Related: Catching up with former KTVU presenter Leslie Griffith [SFist]

Image: KTVU